Kansas basketball coach Bill Self responds to John Calipari’s departure from Kentucky to Arkansas.

Bill Self, the coach of Kansas basketball, has faced John Calipari numerous times throughout their coaching careers. They first clashed in the 2008 national championship game, which Self’s Jayhawks won against Calipari’s Memphis team. Since then, they’ve had several matchups, especially after Calipari moved to coach Kentucky, where he secured a national championship in 2012 by defeating Kansas. Their most recent encounter was during the past season’s Champions Classic in Chicago, where Kansas emerged victorious in a thrilling 89-84 game.

However, if Self and Calipari were to face off again, Calipari wouldn’t be leading the Wildcats. Recently, Calipari opted to depart from Kentucky for another Southeastern Conference program, Arkansas. While it seemed Calipari’s time with the Wildcats was ending, his move has significant implications in the college basketball realm.

Self expressed his feelings about Calipari’s move during his team’s end-of-season banquet, stating that he’s happy for him, recognizing the intense pressure coaches face and acknowledging that a long tenure at one place is rare. He wished Calipari success, albeit not at the expense of Kansas. He also anticipated Kentucky’s selection for Calipari’s replacement, which turned out to be Mark Pope, a familiar name to Self as Pope had coached BYU, a fellow Big 12 Conference side, last season. Pope, an alum of Kentucky and a former captain of their championship-winning team in 1996, brings a deep connection to the program. He emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity to lead Kentucky and his commitment to its legacy and community.

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